Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thoughts on the Sunday readings: Choices and Consequences (Seventeenth Sunday - A)


Yes, we are free to make our choices but no one of us is free to deny the consequences of our choices.  We like the first part but we often do our best, individually and collectively, to deny the reality of the second half.  But all choices have consequences whether for good or for ill, whether immediate or some time “down the road”.  No person can escape the consequences of his or her actions. 


The key, for the person of faith, is to not only to choose for the Kingdom in a particular circumstance but to also develop the ingrained habit/discipline of choosing for the Kingdom.  I think that our choices are at the heart of the images that our Lord gives us regarding our relation to the kingdom of heaven in this Sunday’s gospel (Mt. 13:44-52).
Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a “treasure buried in a field” which, when once found, a person then sells all that he has in order to buy the field.  Or the kingdom is like a fine pearl which, again, a person goes and sells all that he has in order to buy it.  In both of these images the person makes a radical and extreme choice.  They sell everything, they let go off everything in order to acquire this one treasure!  Nothing is more important.  Reputation, security, wealth, relationships, advancement – they just don’t compare.  They do not matter in light of this one great treasure!
This is the choice for the Kingdom of God and there are consequences. 
…the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea … what is good (goes into buckets). What is bad is thrown away.  Thus it will be at the end of the age. 
All choices have consequences.  When we make the choice for the Kingdom, for God, for what is right – even if in the most trying of circumstances, even if not applauded but derided, even if in the face of persecution – we gain life.  The life of the Kingdom of God grows within us.  
In our first reading (1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12) Solomon was also faced with a choice.  God says to the young king, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”  Solomon could have asked for anything and God knows this.  Solomon, aware of his role as a young king, asks, “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and distinguish right from wrong.”  Solomon is blessed in his choice because he made a choice for the Kingdom of God.  He did not choose for himself – to build up his ego, his wealth or his power – rather, he made a choice for others – he asked for wisdom that he might serve and govern God’s people well and justly.  In so doing, Solomon mirrored the reality of God who is love who pours himself out for all of his creation and Solomon was blessed.  Life grew within him.
Yes, we are free to make our choices but no one of us is free to deny the consequences of our choices.  Our choices can help, our choices can heal!  Our Lord invites us to continually, in all situations and seasons, make the choice for the kingdom - that we might be blessed and have life within us and that his kingdom might continually grow in order to heal the pains and wounds of our world. 
The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request and said to him, “Because you have asked for this – not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you might know what is right – I do as you requested.”          

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Thoughts on the Sunday readings: The Grain, the Weeds and Tobit (Sixteenth Sunday - A)


This last week I read a book entitled, Tobit’s Dog written by Michael N. Richard.  The book is a retelling of the Book of Tobit set in the segregated South of the Depression era.  The Book of Tobit (not found in Protestant Bibles) is, in many ways, a reflection on sin, suffering and the question of why troubles come upon us.  Even if one does not go looking for trouble it seems that troubles will often come looking for us in life.  Why is this?  One thing that the Book of Tobit reveals is that even though God does not send troubles our way; God is willing to aid and help us learn from the troubles that we do encounter in life.  
At one point in the story the young Tobias is wondering about these matters while he and the archangel Raphael (going by the name “Ace Redbone” – a travelling musician) are on journey.  At this point, Ace offers some wise advice, “Tobias, life will have no happily ever after until that day when Heaven merges completely with the created world around us.” 
In this Sunday’s gospel (Mt. 13:24-43), our Lord gives us three images of the Kingdom of God – the grain growing alongside the weeds, the growing mustard seed and the active yeast.  What is helpful is recognizing that all of these three images are in process, they are active.  We are on journey toward the Kingdom of God, we are not there yet, and not only that but all creation is also on journey toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God.  Last Sunday, in his Letter to the Romans (Rom. 8:18-23) St. Paul wrote, I consider that the sufferings of the present life cannot be compared with the Glory that will be revealed and given to us.  All creation is eagerly expecting the birth in glory of the children of God.  The resurrection, the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God is active; it is transforming us and all of creation also! 
“Tobias, life will have no happily ever after until that day when Heaven merges completely with the created world around us.” 
We are on journey.  In this life there will be no ultimate “happily ever after” no matter the messages we are sold.  There will be troubles but we can learn from the troubles of life and we can praise God even in the midst of them.  One truth to be gained from the parable of the grain and weeds, I believe, is that we should not be frightened by the fact that an evil plant grows rather, what truly counts on our part, is to make the good plant grow as much as possible.  
If we, in our lifetime, can help to make the Kingdom of God grow even to the smallest fraction then we have done well. 
God is bringing about his Kingdom.  We are on journey.       

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thoughts on the Sunday readings: The Generosity is God's (Fifteenth Sunday-A)


In today’s Gospel (Mt. 13:1-23), the disciples ask the Lord why he speaks to the people in parables.  It is a fair question and one that can help us get at the heart of what a parable is meant to be about and meant to do.  A parable is not a set of engineering manuals which yield precise directions and formulations once we figure out the proper “code”.  Rather, a parable is better viewed as an invitation to a grand feast.  It is an entrance into which we are called to enter and it is then in the context of this “feast” that life is found - we encounter others, relationships are born or nourished and all of a sudden there are new insights or possibilities gained that we could never have predicted.  A parable is a living reality that we are meant to enter into, move about and even sit within, which then brings us insight into how to live Christian discipleship more deeply and truly.  A parable does not need to explain itself and neither are we meant to pry and wring truths out of parables by our own effort.  Parables speak.  We are to listen. 
Through this Sunday’s parable of the sower and the seed our Lord is inviting us into the mystery of encounter with himself (which occurs according to our Lord’s own generosity) and the mystery of keeping our hearts open and cultivated because we know neither the time nor the hour. 
Our gospel parable might be fleshed out more by the use of another parable – a commercial put out a while back by Catholic Charities in the Philippines.  In the commercial a businessman enters into a crowded subway.  He is hurrying to work and is carrying his sack lunch for the day.  He notices a homeless man sitting on the ground in a corner of the station.  The man is dirty and obviously in need.  At first the businessman makes to walk past him but then he stops, walks over the homeless man and gives him his lunch.  
Now, a second scene – the next day – once more the businessman enters the station carrying his lunch.  Again, he sees the homeless man.  He tries to walk by but his conscience will not allow him.  He heads over and gives the man his lunch but things change and instead of seeing the face of the homeless man the businessman sees the face of Christ.
A third scene - this time from the viewpoint of the homeless man sitting in the station.  We see the businessman coming forward to give his lunch but now it is the businessman’s face that changes and in its place the homeless man sees the face of Christ. 
In both the commercial and the parable we are invited into the great feast of Christian giving and receiving and encountering Christ within that living dynamic. 
It has been pointed out that an aspect of the parable of the sower and the seed is the almost remarkable carelessness of the sower.  This is not a farmer who has to have perfect soil for his supply of seeds!  
Without saying it, Jesus is comparing the sower to himself.  His generosity in sowing seeds is entirely his, not ours.  The sower does not calculate nor measure his generosity … there is no part of the soil that he does not consider worthy of attention. (Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia)
At the heart of the mystery of encountering Christ and experiencing the Kingdom is a gratuitousness that can neither be programmed nor predicted on our part.  The generosity is God’s and not ours.  One factor of note though in this mystery is the condition of the inner terrain of our hearts and the need of being “good soil”.  This is important as the parable teaches us that the sower can sow at any time and in any circumstance – from a church pew on Sunday to a busy subway station during the week.  The generosity is God’s and not our own. 
The power of the Catholic Charities commercial is that it does not need to explain anything.  It just portrays a moment and it that moment the man’s heart was good soil.  He made a decision and in that decision the Kingdom was able to break through and each recognized the face of Christ in the other.
God’s generosity is sowing seeds is entirely his, not ours.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Eucharist and the Burning Bush of Exodus: Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ


Recently, Pope Francis offered these words during his Sunday Angelus address. 
Every Sunday we go to Mass, we celebrate the Eucharist together and the Eucharist is like the ‘burning bush’ in which the Trinity humbly dwells and communicates itself: this is why the Church has placed the feast of the Body of the Lord after that of the Trinity.

The Holy Father has given us some wonderful images to reflect upon on this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (traditionally known as Corpus Christi). 
If we look to the third chapter of Exodus (verses 1-6) we read of Moses’ encounter with God revealed in the burning bush.
Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock beyond the wilderness, he came to the mountain of God, Horeb.   There the angel of the Lord appeared to him as fire flaming out of a bush.   When he looked, although the bush was on fire, it was not being consumed. So Moses decided, “I must turn aside to look at this remarkable sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called out to him from the bush; “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said: “Do not come near! Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground!”   “I am the God of your father, he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. 
We are told that Moses wonders why the bush is not consumed and only after he decides to “turn aside and look” does God speak to him.  God waits for the moment when we are ready for him to speak to us.  We, for our part, must learn how to “turn aside” from all that distracts us, from the illusions, sad logic and passing fancies of our world in order to then be ready to encounter God.  God is present and is waiting to reveal himself if we just turn aside to look.  In the Eucharist – celebrated on the altar, reserved in the tabernacle – the fullness of Christ is present.  On every altar during the celebration of the Eucharist and in every tabernacle we can say that the burning bush is present waiting for us to just turn aside and look. 
The bush was not consumed.  God is not opposed to creation nor limited as creation is limited.  The presence of God does not negate my freedom nor does it negate my possibility.  God is not simply another actor within creation whose very presence necessarily limits my own space.  God is rather the source of all creation, the one who is pure love and who is non-competitive with his creation.  Christ is fully present within the Eucharist.  The bread and wine truly becomes the body and blood of Christ yet it is neither consumed nor lost.  When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we also are neither consumed nor lost nor oppressed; rather we are transformed into the very thing which we consume.  Through the presence of God, we are fulfilled. 
“Remove your sandals from your feet; for the place where you stand is holy ground!”  The Eucharist is holy.  This is why we reverence it, adore it, place it in a special place of reservation and come before it in prayer.  Our sandals are what carry us through our day-in and day-out lives.  Our sandals are the mundane and profane trappings of life (profane not in the sense of “anti-sacred” but rather in the sense of common and ordinary).  We are meant to remove our sandals, we are meant for more than just the ordinary!  We are meant for relationship with God!  In the Eucharist we meet Christ, we know him and we receive him.  The fullest form of friendship and communion is given to us in the Eucharist.
“I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Just as we receive Christ in the Eucharist so do we regain ourselves.  Moses had forgotten who he was, God remembered for him.  “I am the God of your father…”  Life can wear down, confuse and distract.  We need food for the journey.  We need help remembering who we are.  In receiving the Eucharist we are reminded again of who we are – a child of God, beloved of the Father, brother and sister to Christ our Lord!  And once we encounter God and remember who we are then we are ready for mission in our world.  Moses needed to know who he was before he could ever go before Pharaoh.  The same is true for us.  Before the pharaohs of our world (violence, sin, greed and all the sad logics that seek to divide and oppress life) we need to be constantly reminded of who we are, who our brothers and sisters are and who our Father is. 
Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:51)
“…the Eucharist is like the ‘burning bush’ in which the Trinity humbly dwells and communicates itself.” 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pope Francis, the Community of Sant'Egidio and their mutual friend


This coming Sunday (May 15th), Pope Francis will visit with the Community of Sant’Egidio at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastavere in Rome and will then walk a block to the Chapel of Sant’Egidio where the community is headquartered.  The heart of this visit by the Bishop of Rome will be an encounter with the poor.  Pope Francis’ friendship with and care for the poor is well known and is shared by the Community of Sant’Egidio.  When Andrea Riccardi along with a group of his friends in 1968 (all young high school students) heeded the summons of the Second Vatican Council to pick up the Gospel and read they quickly discerned that to be a Christian meant to be friends with the poor.  This realization led them to the slums of Rome where they began the first “School of Peace” – a daycare for the children of poor families.  Since then the Community has continued to walk with the poor and forgotten around the world and continues to learn the lessons that only the poor can offer any disciple of Christ. 
In one sense it is no wonder that Pope Francis and the Community of Sant’Egidio are having this encounter because it is the poor who are bringing them together.  It is like a mutual friend saying, “Come, I really want you to meet someone!”  The poor are the mutual friend bringing the two together.  Truth be told, this is not the first encounter of Pope Francis with the community.  Pope Francis has been a friend to the community since his days in Argentina.  In his role as cardinal of Buenos Aires he was supportive and encouraging of the work of the community.  But, even more so, he has himself been a friend of the poor throughout his own priesthood and life of faith.  From his biography we learn that Cardinal Bergoglio was not adverse to the slums and, in fact, that he encountered his Lord and Savior in the faces of his poor friends, brothers and sisters.  Pope Francis also walks with the poor and has learned the lessons that they alone have to offer.  
Being brought together by their mutual friend the poor is the key, I believe, to this coming encounter between the Bishop of Rome and this particular community of disciples.  Many people are talking about the “Francis effect” – meaning how Pope Francis has caught the attention and imagination of the world.  A danger in such talk is to try to determine his “technique” or, maybe worse, create a narrative which proposes a technique which can then be learned and copied.  I do not think Pope Francis has a technique in this regard; I think he just has friends and he loves his friends and wants to be with them.  Pope Francis is authentic and authenticity always attracts. 
As a diocesan priest and a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio I have found that my own priesthood and life of faith has been strengthened and often reinvigorated by my friendship with the poor.  The key word is “friendship”.  The poor are not clients, they are not a once or twice a year encounter (usually around the holidays), they are not a service project rather they are friends and this has implications.  I want to be with my friends, I enjoy their company, I do not have to pretend I can solve their problems it is enough just to be together, I trust that they also have something to offer me.  One of the greatest gifts that the poor have to give is the desire to just be together.  “When are you coming back?” is a question often asked by my poor friends.  
Currently, I am in a time of transition in my priesthood.  I am returning to parish ministry after seven years in specialized ministry.  A year ago I was also reassigned to a different part of my diocese (an area from which I am now moving).  The gathering of Sant’Egidio that I had begun at a Newman Center in this new location was just beginning its service and friendship with the poor in a low-income residence when we had to cease for summer break.  I find that my own priesthood and discipleship is not as strong and resilient and is easily turned inward when I do not have a continuing and faithful relationship with the poor.  There is a lesson here, I believe, both for the priest and the parish and it is a lesson that I have heard both Pope Francis and the Community share.  We can easily turn inward and become self-absorbed and stagnant in the life of faith and we therefore need something that continually turn us away from self and toward others and this means more than just our own particular circle of friends.  The poor do this and it is not a technique, it is an encounter.  It is friendship. 
Once settled, I hope to begin a gathering of Sant’Egidio in my new assignment.  I will do this both for the parish and for my own discipleship.  As I look to my new assignment and as I look to this upcoming meeting of Pope Francis and the Community by their mutual friend I wonder how things in the parish might be different as we realize friendship with the poor.  As Pope Francis has often said, “A Church of the poor and for the poor.”  I do not have the full answer to this but I am willing to find out. 
(If you are interested, the meeting of Pope Francis with the Community of Sant’Egidio will be live streamed on Sunday, May 15th, beginning around 3 p.m. Rome time.  To watch, go to the community website at www.santegidio.org.)                  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three deficits brought to light by the Harvard "black mass" incident


It is interesting how an incident can bring seemingly rambling thoughts and intuitions together into clarification.  This has been the case for me as I have reflected upon the whole “black mass” incident at Harvard.  I believe that the proposal for a black mass and how it seemingly developed as well as the uproar it caused in response reveals some very real deficits in our current secular world and understanding.
The first deficit is a lack of comprehension in our society in terms of what defines “religion” and therefore a much needed societal discussion on both “religion” and what constitutes “freedom of religion”.  This is a discussion Americans don’t like to have and prefer to avoid if at all possible.  “You believe what you want and I will believe what I want and we will call it even,” is very much the doctrine of our day.  To some degree there is good in this.  Better tolerance than religious wars.  Yet, when people just assume that a black mass must be tolerated and even condoned by a university then something is lacking in our understanding of religion and religious tolerance.  Here is where things get messy, “religious” groups and activities can and should be evaluated and judged.  Not every group who claim the title “church,” “temple,” “shrine,” etc. should be automatically considered religious and therefore protected under freedom of religion.
We lack the language (and will perhaps?) to enter into this discussion and this is a real deficit in our time.  I am not here proposing a comprehensive answer but I do believe that as a society we need to have the discussion and develop the language and clarification needed.  To this discussion I would add this thought: I think it can be argued that a true religious practice protected by freedom of religion will not need to denigrate another religion in order to fulfill its purpose.  A true religious practice will have the ability to stand on its own merit.  A black mass cannot do this because it is meant, by its very purpose, to be a profanation of the Catholic Mass.  It is meant to be the anti-Catholic Mass.  In the black mass a consecrated host from a Catholic Mass is profaned - somehow a consecrated host has been obtained by either theft or deception and is then desecrated in the black mass.  Therefore, a black mass is not neutral to other religions, specifically Catholicism.  A black mass, in its very structure and purpose, is an act of hatred toward Catholicism.  Because of its inability to stand on its own, it can be held that a black mass should not be considered a religious act protected by freedom of religion.  Further, due to the fact that it’s foundational act is dependent upon an act of deception (falsely acquiring a consecrated host in order to conduct an anti-Mass), it can be demonstrated that it is an act of hate which, although it might be protected under freedom of expression, should never be condoned by a public institution such as Harvard.
The second deficit is an almost criminally negligent naivety about things spiritual and sacramental.  This was witnessed in abundance throughout the Harvard black mass incident.  Apparently the organizers could not even begin to comprehend why desecrating a consecrated host or even reenacting such a desecration (even if the host was not consecrated) would cause such an uproar and reaction from people.  Why should this bother people?  It is just another cultural experience we are exploring, similar to the tea ceremony we also sponsored.  That attitude of “just another cultural experience” demonstrates a profound lack of spiritual and sacramental sensibilities.  If one is seeking a prime example of living in a time dominated by a purely materialist understanding of reality then you need look no further.  This is it.  Further, on the other side, why should we worry about a Satanic Mass?  It is just a cultural expression.  There really is nothing to it after all.  Who believes in the devil anyway?  What real affect can it have?  In this incident we find either total obliviousness to any possibility of a spiritual dimension to reality or, more troubling, an attitude seeking to denigrate a view of life that incorporates the spiritual dimension and those who profess it. 
The third deficit is the university system itself.  Something is fundamentally off-kilter on our college campuses.  The weak response given by the administration at Harvard to the whole black mass incident is one example and it should give people pause.  Yes, I am aware that the university president publicly condemned the choice of the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club to co-sponsor a black mass on campus and that she attended a public Eucharistic procession in personal rebuttal to the black mass but does it not demonstrate a deficit in the university system itself that something like this (which can clearly be demonstrated as an act of hate) could not be stopped outright?  Another recent incident that should raise concern is the White House having to call colleges and universities to task for laxity in preventing and truly prosecuting sexual violence incidents on campus.  A further pause can be found by reading College, the Great Unequalizer, a recent opinion piece in the New York Times by Ross Douthat where he highlights the book Paying for the Party by Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton who explore how higher education and the “party-pathway” through college contributes to inequality in our society.  Here is a quote from the article by Douthat regarding the party-pathway as a mechanism of inequality: The losers are students ill equipped for the experiments in youthful dissipation that are now accepted as every well-educated millennial’s natural birthright. The winners, meanwhile, are living proof of how a certain kind of libertinism can be not only an expression of class privilege, but even a weapon of class warfare.  I have witnessed this mechanism of inequality on college campuses and I have counselled its victims.  There is a deficit in our current system of higher education and it needs to be discussed and brought to light.
This black mass incident has brought to light some troubling deficits of understanding in our society; hopefully we can find the backbone to move beyond the superficial to a true discussion that would begin to answer these very real deficits.     

  

 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Homily, 2014 - "Christ is risen! Very truly, he is risen!


(Homily given at the Easter Gathering of the Community of Sant'Egidio in the U.S.)
We have arrived at Easter after having followed Jesus in the last days of life.  He welcomed us at the table with great friendship, he bent down before us to wash our feet and he taught us to do likewise one to another.  He gave himself in the bread broken and the wine poured out.  When anguish and sadness weighed heavy in his heart, he wanted us at his side in Gethsemane.  He has indeed given all of his very self for our salvation and we have accompanied him, even to the tomb.  A heavy stone sits in front of the tomb; our Lord is on the other side.  We ask, “Who will roll it away?”
So often, we place too much trust in our own abilities and strengths.  “How might we remove the stone?” we ask.  But now is not the time to trust in our strengths and in our abilities.  Now is the time to trust in God.  Tonight, as family, we are invited to trust in the weak power of love.  It was as a family and in love that the women went to the tomb.  They did not know how the stone would be moved.  They just loved.  They just went.  Love and faith teach us not to trust in our own strength but to trust in God.  Love and faith teach us that life needs God.  Faith and love is to believe that I need God to roll away the stone – the stone that covered the tomb of Jesus and all the stones that cover the tombs of our world and even our own lives.  We need to go to the sepulcher, to go there just as the women did – in faith and love.  Without going to the sepulcher we will not meet the angel nor hear the angel’s message.
Do not be afraid!” says the angel, “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, he is risen!”  Whoever seeks Jesus must have no more fear!  Jesus’ tomb was opened – the stone was rolled back – now all the graves will be able to be opened, all the stones of our lives can be rolled back!  There is a force of life and love that emanates from the empty tomb and it is a force that continues to transform all of creation!  
Tonight, we are once again reminded that the darkness of pain and suffering in the world, the darkness of my sin and your sin, has been overcome by the light of the Lord.  The light of our Easter candle is the light of the resurrection!  It is the light that does not diminish just as it is being shared.  This is the light that has entered the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it!  It is the light of the resurrection but in a sense it is a weak light.  For a moment, let us reflect on the entrance of this light into our community.  We held up the Easter candle yet then, one by one, we began to pass that light one to another.  One by one we shared the light.  The light depends upon us; it waits for us to share it. 
One by one, the light grew, one by one the darkness of sin, violence and isolation dissipated.  One by one the risen Lord enters our hearts and breaks the darkness of sin and expels the darkness of fear. 
As for those first disciples, so for us – one by one the light illumines our hearts and one by one, we carry that light back to our cities and towns to help scatter the darkness.  We shine the light of the resurrection through community and family, through friendship with the poor, through prayer, especially as we have been invited this Easter, prayer for the sick and for peace.  
Let us go quickly for we have an appointment to keep – in Galilee!  Tonight, at this gathering, we might as well say in New York, in Boston, in Washington, South Bend, Manchester, Chicago, Minneapolis, Oxford, Seattle, Johnson City, Chattanooga, Rome.  Jesus is waiting for us!  One by one, he is inviting us to find and meet him in these places where life is lived every day.  Where the people are – especially with our friends the poor – the Lord awaits us.  “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”
This is a momentous time!  There is a decision to be made; we have an appointment that cannot be missed!  Tonight’s celebration marks a new beginning for our lives and the life of our community.  There are so many heavy stones and so much darkness – we all know this – but tonight we sing “Alleluia!” because Christ has risen!  Free from fear and free from darkness we sing, “Christ is risen!  Very truly he is risen!”  That is the song of the community and our song!  The sad logic of sin, death and violence is vanquished.  Let us live the joy of the Gospel!  
The risen one goes ahead of us to Galilee – to each of our towns and cities.  We must remember that we are never alone.  The risen one is already there, waiting for us, waiting to show us the way.  In the gospel we are told that the women left the tomb quickly and as they were running the Lord appeared to them.  Jesus comes to whoever runs toward him!  We need to move, we need to go, and we need to live for others and not for ourselves!  This is the love that can transform our lives and can change the life of our world – one by one.  
Chris is risen!  Let us rise with him and bring the good news to everyone!  Christ is risen!  Truly he is risen!